17 Feb 2014

Tonga looks to address gender imbalance in parliament

7:41 am on 17 February 2014

Tonga is launching a mock parliament for women, in efforts to encourage more women to enter politics and address the current gender imbalance.

Tonga has only one woman in parliament, Dr 'Ana Taufe'ulungaki, who was appointed by the Prime Minister.

The Speaker of Parliament, Lord Fakafanua, says the practice parliament will take place in April for two days and he is encouraging women to take part.

"They will elect among themselves a Prime Minister, there will be a women speaker, a woman deputy speaker, a women deputy Prime Minister and the agenda will be just as if it was a real parliament with bills, and standing orders, and rules and procedures, and petitions, everything just like a real parliament."

Lord Fakafanua says it will be refreshing to hear the opinions of women in parliament as women's concerns and interests are not well represented.

Applications are open until the end of March.